Recent decades have seen a massive concentration of scientific research in the arctic and sub-arctic regions of the globe. Largely driven by concerns over climate change, this research effort has been overwhelmingly driven by the natural sciences. Despite paying lip service to the 'human dimension,' the contribution of research and scholarship in the humanities and social sciences to understanding past, present and future developments in the circumpolar North has not received the recognition it deserves.

However, thanks to international collaborative scientific efforts, a significant body of work has been assembled that not only highlights the creative ways in which northern peoples are responding to the challenges of environmental change but also casts a critical light on the policies and practices of polar science itself.

The Rectors' Forum will showcase this work, and go on to address the following questions:

  • How can disciplines in the natural sciences and in the social sciences and humanities work together to advance our understanding of the circumpolar North?
  • How can this research best assist inhabitants of the North in responding to the challenges of global environmental change?
  • How can the knowledge and wisdom of northern peoples help to shape the agendas for future circumpolar research?

"With its geographical location facing both east and west, the University of Aberdeen has unique strengths in northern circumpolar research, in fields ranging from the geosciences and environmental biology to archaeology, anthropology and Scandinavian studies. No other University in the UK currently comes close to being so heavily invested in research in the region, and in none are the prospects for its future development so promising. We are therefore honoured and delighted to be hosting the 2017 UArctic Rectors' Forum and very much look forward to welcoming its distinguished delegates." - Professor Tim Ingold

The UArctic Rectors' Forum provides an opportunity for the highest level of leadership from our higher education member institutions to meet annually to exchange ideas, and strategic cooperation.

Following the UArctic Rectors' Forum, the University of Aberdeen is organizing an associated international conference on the theme of Conversations from the North: Scholars of many disciplines and inhabitants of many places in dialogue with one another, with animals and plants, and with the land.